tv Parker Spitzer CNN December 8, 2010 8:00pm-9:00pm EST
conversation about it tomorrow. i don't think -- >> actually -- >> i don't think i'm the jury on that issue. >> i actually just got a text message from my wife, which she includes a picture of a pair of scissors so i'd like to announce i'd like to take back that comment if it's okay with you, if i'm doing a good enough job, i'd like to stay devoted to my wife. >> i don't want to call you pete bobbitt. >> john, the great ef thing about that story, the greatest thing, and you know news cycles, the michael jackson thing, that helped him out, yes? >> we'll talk about that later. we got to go. good evening. let's go straight to our opening argument. i want to talk about george iii. i mean the third term of george w. bush. from afghanistan to bailing out wall street. now to tax policy. these policies could have been president george bush's if he had had a third term. you know what's better for him,
he gets to clear brush on his ranch in texas and let somebody else do the work and get his policies put into place by democrats. i never would have imagined it. >> you know, eliot, i'm not a political operative and i don't work for the republican party but objectively speaking, i have to say you democrats are big babies. he's got to have everything your way or wah, right? i'm going to play devil's advocate. pro-obama for a minute. he is our president. the president of the united states. not the president of the democratic party. and so he's -- by the way, afghanistan, just one example, george bush had no intecntion o doing a surge in afghanistan. he said, no, we're not going to do that. it's obama's war. and it's obama's presidency. >> that's what i'm saying. this is not what the democratic party wanted. these are not the changes we wanted. but it is, in fact, when it comes to economic policy in particular, i think, a
horrendous deviation from what the democratic party believes in. 25% of the benefit goes to the top 1%. he's giving over $120 billion to the super wealthy. the estate tax way, way down. >> i think everybody would agree that the super rich do not need a tax cut. we're in agreement that we've got major painful cuts to make in spending. >> kathleen, your party is supposedly the one -- >> i don't bloelong to a party. >> he said the republican party made it impossible -- >> he's covering himself. >> the economic policy, of bush, which gave tax benefits to the rich, had no upside in terms of job creation. this president has just embraced that and continued it in a way that is not going to do for us what we need. >> he's done a lot of good things for your agenda, eliot. you got your health care reform. i know it's not to your satisfaction. but these are major movements. >> this presidency is becoming the status quo you can believe in in terms of foreign policy, domestic policy, tax policy in
particular. i think that's why people are upset. >> president obama, the first. >> let's bring in our headline. >> joining us from washington, jared bernstein, chief economic adviser to vice president joe biden. welcome. >> thank you for inviting me on. >> hope you're not too cold out there. >> it's chilly but i have a space heater warming the back of my legs so that's something. >> then you can sprint when you're ready. listen, white house economic adviser larry summers warned of a double-dip recession. he said if this deal doesn't go through, we're in trouble. do you agree with that? >> i certainly agree with larry, especially on the following point. look, if you look at the measures in this plan that are very clearly associated with growth in the economy, with tax relief for the middle class, businesses, with relief for folks face long-term unemployment, each one of those measures has significant
positive impact on growth and jobs. now, that's not our estimate. that's the estimates of, now, a broad-ranging group of outside economists. so if you look at estimates about the growth rate of the economy, that add something, over 1 million jobs to the labor market, and you pull those effects out of the economy, it's -- subtract them, larry's point is well taken. that means less growth, greater probability of contraction versus building on the recovery that's ongoing. though too fragile. >> if that's the case, then it seems this is a rather urgent move, and given that, it make mess wonder why we're doing this so last minute. why is this taking so long to get here? >> look, i've been talking about this plan for the past few days. the word "urgent" has been one i've used a lot. i do think there's great urgency to this. we have an unemployment rate
that is highly elevated. we have in front of us a plan that i think has great potential to contribute to growth and jobs, the middle class tax relief -- >> i hate to break it to you but i think people would expect to see that from a democratic president and they're astonished it took this long to get them on the table. frankly, think larry summers statement today is not only political hocus pocus but an argument against your plan because the piece of it most object to, the piece, plural, will do nothing for job growth. we're talking about an estate tax that cuts 20% off the marginal rate and a cut in the tax rate for the super wealthy who don't need it. why did you not push for a senate and house vote on senator warner's plan to reduce the tax, eliminate the tax cuts for the rich and put all that money into a job creation tax cut? what was wrong with that idea? >> you've raised some points here, some of which i agree
with. let me start with where we disagree. i think i can convince you you're wrong. >> good luck. >> a matter of a couple of weeks ago -- you'll remember this, el yolt, that the house, the democratic house, voted for an unemployment insurance extension of around 3 months and they did not get it. this did not pass. you will -- >> because -- because, jared, i hate to interrupt, because the president hasn't been banging away at this issue with the persistence that we needed. that's been the grievance here. >> again, the president has been banging away hard -- >> no way. >> -- on these very issues. and, you know, now we're talking about an agreement, a bipartisan agreement in the making, with a 13 month extension when he couldn't even get a 3 -- so i really think it's a statement that -- you know, not just myself, but i think bipartisan folks who are looking at this agree this is a better plan than anyone expects. on the high end, you are 100% correct. those measures do not contribute much at all in my thinking to
growth or jobs. what those measures do in the spirit of political compromise is they break a stalemate and avoid middle class families waking up on january 1 to a $3,000 tax increase and an economy that's going to be losing jobs because we didn't get the measures in place to preserve middle class tax cuts as well as the other programs like i mentioned. >> with all due respect, you love to say we were taken hostage. i think that is wrong. you turned yourself into a hostage both by delaying this until this moment and then by refusing to go to the brink of the precipice. we have majorities in both houses. why did you not do what so many members of congress are proposing? go to christmas day and look at the republicans and say we dare you to cut off these tax breaks, to deny unemployment insurance, negotiate hard, don't cave, don't punt on third down, which is what anthony weiner has said, accurately in my view?
>> this president is not willing to withstand the collateral daniel on t damage on the economy and middle class because of political negotiations and machinations and the kinds of disagreements that have the real potential to block the measures that we've been talking about. we have on the table a plan that will deliver thousands of dollars of tax relief to the middle class that will deliver hundreds of thousands, millions of jobs to this economy, to the point of gdp growth next year. that's the medicine this economy needs. that's what we have to make sure is in place. >> i've got to ask one more question about the unemployment. unemployment, you said 13 months, as though that's a good thing. how is it possible to negotiate a deal that says only 13 months on unemployment, two years on the tax cuts for the rich, and yet you didn't even create a trigger? why not create a trigger for unemployment benefit cutoffs so
until unemployment drops below 8%, some other economically rationale number, so you say at that point we can understand it? how could you have not gotten that for the unemployed who are desperately looking for jobs? >> there is a trigger. i'll get to that. you can look this up in the history books. this extension of unemployment insurance is an historic one. never before have we had a longer extension with more available weeks for unemployed people in states -- here's where the trigger kicks in -- in states where unemployment is particularly high. so if you are in a state, a michigan, a rhode island, one of these states that have particularly high unemployment, that's where you are eligible for 99 weeks of unemployment insurance. i mean, eliot, i hope you know that this is historical in terms of protecting the unemployed in an economy through no fault of their own unable to -- >> jared, i clearly would have negotiated this in a different way.
i want to clarify. i'm correct, am i not, for folks, either individuals under 20,000 or two filers with income of 40,000, their taxes are going to go up? >> no, i say that's incorrect in the following sense. if you income is below -- your earnings below $20,000, it is true that you will get less from the payroll tax cuts than you would from making work pay -- >> making work pay expires, right? >> correct. but you will get -- the difference is i think about 100 bucks. you will get over $1,000 more from the tax -- the refundable tax credits that are part of this deal. the child tax credit. the earned income tax credit. those credits will weigh more -- >> those were already there. >> that is absolutely incorrect -- >> the 2% -- >> no, wait a second, wait a second. the refundable tax credits ended in 2010 and this was a very tough sticking point in the negotiations and the vice president, the negotiators, fought very hard to make sure
low income families do much, much better under this plan than they would have otherwise. >> i understand why democrats are upset because they've essentially blown it. they had control of both housings and the white house and they got shellacked in the midterm elections. isn't it remotely possible the president is tacking to the center because that's where the country is and he's the president of the united states, not just the democratic party? >> i think that -- i really don't see the tacking point. i mean, there may be a political point in there that i'm missing. what i see is on the economy. the president has consistently stressed a top priority is job creation. we have an economy that is technically in recovery. gdp's been growing five quarters. we've added over 1 million private sector jobs. from the perspective of middle class families, it still feels like a recession. this president has to do everything to promote growth and jobs for the middle class to give businesses the breaks they need to expand and hire. >> jared, we have run out the
clock unfortunately, maybe fortunately, and we thank you for joining us. hope you'll come back and chat with us down the road. >> i hope too. >> thanks so much. later, the life and politics of john lennon. how the legendary beatle saw the world. we'll be right back. wrong move! you. you can save up to half off that sale when you name your own price on priceline. but this one's a deal...trust me. it's only pretending to be a deal. here, bid $79. got it. wow! you win this time good twin! there's no disguising the real deal. i gave mom a new washer/dryer for christmas. i went to sears early and pick out the new whirlpool duet with 6th sense technology. i even found a savvy way to p the washer can be yours today. just $41 a month at a low fixerate. i knew she'd love having for the holidays. just had n ...how much.
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today president obama defended the tax cut deal, calling it the right thing to do. the president pushed back at suggestions the republicans felt betrayed. >> joining us, former presidential adviser david gergen. welcome, david, thank you for joining us. >> hello, kathleen, it's good to talk to you. >> i've going to throw the first question at you. a lot of criticism of the way the president negotiated this. give him a grade. you're the professor. he's the student. negotiating skill, good or bad? >> huh. i think you have to separate substance from negotiation. the final bill actually has a lot of strengths to it. let me just -- for example, when you get beyond the united states, in some of the warfare we're having here, look at "the financial times" today. this is the lead story of "the financial times." obama tax move lifts hopes for
growth. obama tax move lifts hopes for growth. it says a number of economists are upgrading their economic outlook for the united states over the next year or two. the united states is the only industrialized nation now in the west that instead of tightening is actually continuing to stimulate its economy and they think that's going to help. so that -- and i think there was an inevitability in the long run. for the negotiation, i think the process got bullocked up. >> boy, wasn't to take your course. you're the sort of grader i liked as a student. i want to change gears. >> that's how you've done so well in life, eliot. >> i think you're absolutely brilliant, professor. >> i want to come back to the negotiations and some of the strategy. it seems pelosi is in the cat bird's seat now. there's been a bid and an ask. she can say, mr. president, you
need house democratic votes to get it through. she's now at the fulcrum. can she force a renegotiation? >> i don't know if she has enough votes. all the republicans in the house, with a few exception, will probably vote for this. he doesn't have to get that large a proportion of the democrats to get through. i'll be amazed if she has enough. it sounds like the nafta fight when clinton got nafta done, with the democrats voting against it, but basically got it done with the republicans. >> david, you're so even-handed and fair. i think you gave the president just the right grade. with that a-minus. honestly -- >> on substance. >> the democrat's anger aside, doesn't this really strengthen the president as the centrist leaning president he promised to be? red states, no blue states? this is a compromise, isn't it? >> i think if he negotiated it well, if communications had been strong, i think he would have come out doing just what -- at least i had hope head would do, move to the center.
the negotiations got so bullocked up. i think one of the mistakes he made was to -- during the health care fight, they turned everything over to the democrats and let them do that in the house and senate and they came up with a bill that wasn't popular. in this case, he didn't bring the democrats into the negotiations. he just did it with the republicans. i think that was a mistake. he winds up with his own party now angry at him. and, you know, i do think -- in one sense, fundamentals like health case he got the bill he was looking for but he lost the fight. and on this one, he's got the bill actually that may help the economy but as a political matter he lost the fight. i think that's a really weird position to be in. something the white house has to address. they can't continue negotiating like this and wind up with a deal but getting hurt for it. >> david, thank you so much for
this analysis. the only thing you've done me in tonight is my students who are watching this will say, why are you a more tough grader? >> thanks, david, appreciate you coming on. coming up, your child's education and future in jeopardy. we're losing our global competitive edge. our next guest has ideas on how to change that. ♪
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it's the topic that doesn't maked headlines very often but it should -- education in america. we are no longer the best in the world. in fact, a disturbing new report shows the u.s. is just average. >> the program for international students assessment known as pisa compares the skills of 15-year-olds in 70 different countries. here's how bleak it is. the u.s. ranks 14th out of 34 in reading. 17th in science. and 25th in math. >> joining us tonight is a
professor of education at new york university and also on the suny board, i should add with some price. >> thanks for being with us. if you break this report out according to race, asian-american kids actually rank second out of 65 countries, in this country. >> that's right. >> our kids overall do poorly but when you break them down by race, it's a different picture. so whites rank 6 out of 65 countries. hispanics rank 41st. and african-americans 46th out of 65. so what's going on here? >> what's going on is that we have great inequality in our schools. we have some fantastic private schools in this country and a small number of really great public schools. we've got a lot of average schools. and then we've got some terrible schools. those unfortunately are located mostly in urban areas and many poor rural areas. that's why we're seeing -- we average it out, we end up -- >> are we saying that asian kids live in better neighborhoods or are there other factors?
>> asian population is complex. on the one hand, you have a large number of immigrants and asian immigrant kids tend to come with more education, better educated parents. they have a strong work ethic. they're doing extremely well. >> they also have intact families. >> tremendous factor. >> we know intact families are a huge influence on how well students do. and the statistics for kids who come from -- who are raised by single parents are abysmal. most of the prisons are filled with people who are raised by only one parent. >> it's also interesting what asian families do. research shows they get their kids to study. they study with them. so it's not simply the intact families. also, what's that family cdoing to support their children. >> what they expect from their kids. >> and how they convey that. it should be a wake-up call. we've been focused on no child left behind for nine years. still not make progress. i think part of that is we've really emphasized basic skills, not higher order skills. we haven't focused on how to
make sure that all kids, regardless of where they live, receive a quality education. >> can i stop you. explain the difference. what's a higher order skill? >> right now, if you look at -- we have a lot of kids who are getting proficiency and higher on our state exams across country and end up in college and have to take remedial courses. it shows a disconnect between the expectations in our secondary schools and the expectations in our colleges and universities. that's because we're emphasizing the basic skills there. the higher order skills really get at issues, can you think critically, process information independently? >> what do you do with teacher? >> what we have to do with teachers is do what the other countries that are outperforming us are doing, which is investing more in the preparation of teachers, doing more to attract some v our strongest students into the teaching profession and getting them to stay there. you get better the longer you're there. >> i want to get back to a subject near and dear to my heart, which is boy, i raised three of them. across the board, boys are doing less well in school than girls.
girls are excelling at the high school level. more females going to college. more women going to graduate schools. et cetera. some of the problems have to do with boy behavior, it has also to do with curriculum. meaning that the classroom is not really oriented toward fidgety little boys who need to be out on the playground playing a lot more than they are now. what about the curriculum itself? is that more girl oriented in your view? >> it is. what we expect of kids is sit still quietly for long periods of time, listening to the teacher. very hard for boys. the other thing it's not what you need to do to engage kids. we need kids who can apply what they've learned, who can demonstrate, command a mastery over what they learned. that requires a more active classroom. a good teacher -- the skill required to engage kids in those ways goes way up. and unfortunately, the easiest way to teach is the least effective way to learn. >> one of most contentious issues is teacher tenure.
there's been a big push, get rid of teacher tenure. good idea, bad idea? >> well, think the real issue is you don't want to make teaching an unattractive profession. okay? if -- one of the reasons you need tenure is you don't want principals makingdee dee signature s decisions based on favoritism. >> the chinese are having longer school day, they even go to school on weekends. is this a model we want to replicate? >> it is. we simply -- we're short-changing our kids. if you look at some of the better schools. i was at a school in san antonio last week. a kip school. kip is a national model of schools. knowledge is power program. an excellent school. those kids are in school every other saturday. they have a longer day. they're there till 5:00. they're outperforming kids throughout the state of texas. these are low-income, mostly hispanic, recent immigrant kids.
they're thriving. >> the kip academies are outperforming. do we finally have a model that can be replicated? can you bring it to scale? seems the kip academy's made the answer yes. >> they're showing they can replicate that model. this is where i think government should play a role. how to shine the light on these schools and bring educators from other schools in so they can see, this is what good teaching looks like. this is how they've organized themselves. this is how it works. >> is arne duncan with the race to the top beginning to use his 4-plus billion dollars in a way that will bring it and expand it to the school systems across the nation? >> i think what we need to do is shine the light -- there are lots of models out there. a great school in san diego called high tech high which has got kids learning how to engage technology and it's doing extremely well. schools like this around the country need to become centers for excellence that educators can learn from. >> thank you so much. >> it's great to be here. >> we'll be right back with john lennon's greatest hits.
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it was 30 years ago today that john lennon was gunned down outside his apartment building right across the street from central park. as part of the beatles, some say he was one half of the greatest song writing team in history. >> his personal history married politics with pop music. a critic of the vietnam war. his hit "imagine" reflected his utopian world view. ♪ imagine all the people ♪ living life >> joining us is bob guccione, co-founder of "spin," a magazine of music and politics. >> i remember where i was when john lennon was shot. do you remember where you were? >> yeah, i do, actually. i was in new york city. i was married at the time. my wife and i were watching the news. and we saw it like everybody else did announced on the news. i was supposed to meet him that week. i'd never met him. of course, never did.
but i was very good friends with bob gruen who took the iconic photographs of john. he promised to introduce me. he said, some day this week, we'll go up. so it was a particularly sad -- i never got the chance to meet the great man. >> we always think of him as a beatle. he was also a political figure. what was behind his politics? >> he was a tremendous liberal. he was a working class liverpoolian. they never hold back. he was not one to hold back. he was also an intellectual. wasn't that rare, by the way, for the english working class. very strong political opinion. of course, he came of age in the height of the vietnam war. the social fabric of the west really coming apart. positively, by the way. i think culturally. but the old order was resisting it. the new order were pulling it
apart. he was at the vanguard of that. he recognized his fantastic celebrity as a beatle gave him a voice and gave him a platform and he quite, you know, well and responsibly took it. i admired him greatly for that. >> you know, bob, i'm going to ask you a very hard question. try to fast forward through the years. where would he be today on political spectrum? in a way, our social fabric, some would say, is coming apart in a similar way. what would his stands be? >> it's a great question. today, he'd be a disappointed liberal. as i am and as so many are in america. that this administration is no different than the last one. i think he'd have a lot to say about that. i think he'd actually have faded by now into the background a bit. he'd be on the talk shows. he'd be having his say. i doubt he'd be making very many records anymore. but he -- i think he would be less remembered than we actually remember him because he was gunned down. i think he's become incredibly mythologized over the years.
disproportionately. >> people evolve over time. i hope you're exactly right. he would have stayed sort of the true liberal. others even, you know, rock star, become somehow more conservative over time. you don't think that would have happened? something in the texture of his being would have kept him where he was? >> one safe prediction i can make is nothing would have made him conservative. >> don't you think the political nature of music in the '60s and '70s when the boomers were around, and i'm in that group, you know, the -- >> me, too. >> it was the war primarily. of course, what made the war more horrible than it was was the draft. i think if we had a draft today, we might have a -- you think we'd have a more politically active musical world? >> no doubt. absolutely right. because the draft impacts the generation making music. i think that's a big factor. i think you're right. also, i think today music is much more mainstream, much more
corporate. at the time of lennon and the beatles and even post-beatles, music was still a bit of a novelty. rock and roll was still different. orally different and culturally different. today, it's not just not possible. it's 50 years old. >> do you think he'd be excited by downloading i-tunes? >> i think he would be fascinated by technology. we're talking about him as if he suddenly came back today after 30 years of being away like austin powers. i think had he been here the last 30 years, he would have faded somewhat into the wallpaper. a bit like paul mccartney has. aged a bit gracefully. had lots to say. he would have also known it was the time for a new generation. i think he would have voluntarily faded away a bit. >> he would be 70 years old now. as we grow older, we become less visible for some reason. i don't quite understand that. >> we become like the cheshire cat, we just fade. >> thanks so much for being with
us. >> yeah. a discussion with the man who was arguably the biggest congressional thorn in the side of the federal reserve. stay with us. >> this new tax deal adds no certainty to the market. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] here's hoping you find something special in your driveway this holiday. ♪ [ santa ] ho ho ho! [ male announcer ] get an exceptional offer on the mercedes-benz you've always wanted at the winter event going on now. and stay connected with three years of mbrace service complimentary. and stay connected three. two. one. ♪ don't cha wish your work phone was hot like me?... ♪ the droid pro by motorola knows you need business on the go.
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not many people question the federal reserve but our next guest certainly does. for years, representative darrell issa of california has been the biggest thorn in the side of the fed. >> issa will have the power to call hearings and issue subpoenas in congress. his plan is to start with the fed. congressman issa, welcome. >> thank you. >> so, let's start with the fed. nobody knew about this $9 trillion in loans until last week. i assume you were surprised along with everybody else. what do you plan to do? >> try to get additional ongoing transparency at the fed. many of our letters and even chairman townsend's subpoenas have either been -- not answered at all. that's not acceptable. >> i want to first congratulate you because of your persistence with the fed. i have long believed the fed is the most important, least understood institution.
critically important stuff. let's come back to the loans they made. jeff immelt, the chair and ceo of general electric, sits on the board of the new york fed. ge was one of the big beneficiaries of the fed's lending. he has also supposedly a public representative, not a banking representative. is this a structure that makes sense? what are we going to do to unravel these conflicts at the fed? >> when it kcomes to monetary policy, conflicts of interest are minimal. monetary policy, we all benefit. when you start getting into being essentially a banker of preference, as they were with ge, as they were in ordering aig money spent and so on. then they start being -- it becomes necessary to be much more transparency and scrutiny. and quite frankly, as somebody in the body that is obligated to vote on every time we either spend money on behalf of the american people or obligate on behalf of the american people, i've very uncomfortable finding out that there's $9 trillion of
obligation without a single vote as to the details of it yet. >> another issue that is certainly hot these days is the tax deal or perhaps it's a deal that's unraveling. who knows. the agreement between the white house and the republican leadership at least. where do you stand on this -- this tax agreement, where, you know, essentially president bush's tax policies were continued? >> you know, i'm always reticent to vote for any tax increase. i'm concerned in this deal we're raiding the social security fund just at a time when people are realizing it's starting to be depleted already. i'm also concerned that the extension of unemployment -- when is america going to say, look, if you're going to give additional unemployment, at least means test it? right now, we give to people for 99 weeks even if their spouse is making $200,000 a year. we have to begin finding cuts. >> congressman, if we are, in fact, entering as many people -- virtually everybody thinks we have to, a period where we have
to be more exacting how we spend government money, whether it is medicare, medicaid, could you apply that means testing concept where if you have income above a certain threshold, you don't qualify, to programs like medicare, for instance? >> i believe in time, social security, medicare, all government programs, are going to ask the question of, do you actually need it? if you don't need it, it's better for the economy, to be honest, better for everybody, to take only what you need. social security is only a safety net. not a retirement program. most people understand that. except the day after they retire. then, of course, they're locked into a new program. for people my son's age, just 30, it's probably time we start asking, couldn't we have it as a safety net, rather than automatically saying it's supposed to be a retirement program? when, in fact, it's not sufficient for real retirement. >> you've expressed skepticism about the spending of the
stimulus money and question whether there might be fraud and, certainly, waste. are you planning to begin an investigation of the stimulus funds? >> we are going to continue looking at stimulus. we disagree with many of the places in which it was spent, how those expenditurescharacter, in some case, it was about keeping public employees working while the private sector is what was hurting. at the same time, i want to give credit. there have been some innovative programs there. some of which we'd like to spread governmentwide when it comes to tracking fraud. so i think, as we work on the stimulus, we're going to look for both the good to be expanded and the bad not to be repeated. >> congressman there seems to be an underlying tension right now between the desire to extend tax cut, which of course are going to increase the deficit over the next decade substantially, versus the obligation to close that deficit, which was the conversation last week with the bipartisan commission. where do you stand as a general matter? >> well, the bipartisan report is not as they characterized it
a three to one cut to spending. it's about a one to one. about $1 of increase in tax for every $1 in real cost savings. having said that, at least it's a start. the other thing i disagree with in the current deal. i made it clear i'm not going to vote for a tax increase. at the same time, this new tax deal adds no certainty to the market. it simply kicks the can down the road. a very short period of time. we need people around the world to look at america as a place where you can make long-term commitments and make a good return. right now, our tax policy in anything but long term or predictable. >> congressman darrell issa, thank you so much for being with us. >> thank you. >> up next, does anyone in congress know how to add or subtract? when we come back, we'll ask our political party to do some math.
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editor of salon.com. in our opening arguments, eliot said barack obama is just a continuation of bush's policies. what do you think? >> i agree. he's an even bigger spender. he's actually -- our involvement -- afghanistan. he's really bad on civil liberties. worse maybe. >> i think from the left is a little bit odd. in the first place this idea he doesn't have the vision or leadership necessary to make something happen so he's continually compromising. there's a black man who's president of the united states named barack hussein obama. i find it difficult to believe he and the people around him lack visionary leadership. and just simply immediately compromise. health care reform, for
instance. the public option. he negotiated himself -- with himself before he ever got to the table? no, it seems to me more likely they said, we really are not going to get the votes so they passed health care without the public option. >> i'll give you a shot and then i'll punch back, your boxing metaphor. >> i understand what you're saying. some policies have continued. it's been dispaying to some people on the left. when you look at it, you know, in the entire history of the united states, you know, national health care plan, you know, health care reform, had never made it through a single congressional committee under any president before barack obama. it's now law. it's a flawed law. it's like laying the groundwork. i liken it to the civil rights legislation. if you look at obama's health care in that perspective. the most important thing was getting it done. it's the groundwork for the future. >> but bush also let's not
forget pushed a big gigantic prescription drug benefit. it's just a continuation. >> i would say something more fundamental than that. put afghanistan aside. this tax agreement, which i think really for me was the straw that broke the camel's back, 25% goes to the top 1%. if there's an issue that should motivate, sort of be the orchestrating theme of what we do with our politics, it is resuscitating the middle class. this is a policy in which he has said, we will give away so much to those who are wealthy and really not do nearly as much for the middle class as we need. the alternative was actually to fight and draw a line in the sand. i'm not just talking about rhetoric. what it does, it actually changes the type of negotiation. we have a majority in both houses. >> no, no, no, your majority in the senate includes a guy like ben nelson. >> sure, it does. >> obama fights on this.
>> no, no, this is an issue where he was not taken hostage, he volunteered to be taken hostage. >> i think the left is so up in arms about the tax extension, cuts extension in particular because -- there's broad consensus, rather right or wrong, that the bush administration was a failed presidency. there are two prime drivers of that. one, war in iraq under false e pretenses. two, huge deficit spending. from surplus to deficit spending. the prime driver, other than the war in iraq, was the tax cuts that weren't paid for. ideologically, the left gets up in arms when any kind of continuation of the bush policy -- >> iraq under mistaken premises. let's just say this, what about this option, president obama ran on a campaign of this is not a red america, not a blue america. we're all in this together. how about he's come toward the center and has built a compromise that is actually being heralded by such right wing radicals as ezra klein?
come on, now, this is -- >> also, let's not forget what this tax deal is. it's just not -- i mean, you hate that teeny part so much. but the rest is actually gigantic. spending for the middle class and the low income people. without, which is just continuing what we've seen in d.c. for the last ten year, more spending without other spending cuts. >> it's not a teeny part. what it is is the fundamental tradeoffs -- >> $75 billion -- >> no, it's over 120. not only the top piece above 250 but also the estate tax. and then the big tradeoff that will come in january. this is the part that is painful. because what we forget is last week where suddenly the need for deficits to close the deficit and cuts, which are going to come out of the very programs we need that are being funded -- >> -- extension of unemployment benefits. >> that was going to happen anyway -- >> you would have gotten a 13 month extension -- >> absolutely.
would have gotten more than that -- >> this idea -- >> here's how you do it. >> i find that hard to believe. >> you know why, you say -- you peg it to unemployment rates. say, we will continue to do this. certainly don't disengage it from the tax cuts for the wealthy. the two years versus 13 months -- >> the most fundamental thing republicans have understood since the moment barack obama took office is when the unemployment took over, people don't care much with logic, they want to blame the guy in charge. if obama gets into a message war -- already 80% of the country thinks obama raised its taxes last year. people don't care about rationale thought right now. they want to blame -- >> claimed more tax cuts were actually spending increased. it's a completely different -- >> nobody even thinks they got tax credits. >> more fun with taxes in just a minute. we've got to take a break and we'll be right back. stay with us.
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wikileaks founder julian assange. tonight on "360," late developments in the battle to repeal don't ask, don't tell. why some think the fight has taken a crucial turn. that's latest. "welcome back to our political party. more fun with taxes. veronique, finish that thought for us. >> high income people actually create a lot of the growth are not getting a free lunch here. first, the estate tax is 35%. it's not 0%. 35%. and also, remember, in the health care bill, they're going to get this 3 point something percent tax on earned income. they're already taxed plenty. >> just so it's clear, 25% of the benefit goes to the top 1%. the 35% is a big drop from the 55% that it used to be. and both of these were fundamentally -- >> what you're calling benefits are just the fact that they're not going to pay more taxes -- you know, it's -- >> marginal rates are almost
historic low. during the period of time where an economy was booming and growing -- >> you actually think that increasing taxes right now when the economy is actually doing really bad is a good idea. it's a bad idea. i mean, actually, barack obama had actually -- he did the right thing. now nehe needs to keep this economy growing by lifting uncertainty. >> it seems to me the argument is basically -- from the left that the right moves rightward. left compromise. on many economic policy issues that does seem to be the case. on many social issue, the left seems to do the same thing to right. for instance, don't ask, don't tell, which was originally, hey, you don't have to get court-martialed. now the left is saying, no, no, not good enough, and it's continually moving left. >> i don't want to let this point go because i don't see this as a huge sellout on the part of the left to the right on this tax compromise. you could make the same argument from the right.